Kenya to auction petroleum exploration licences in 2017

Offshore Rig   QR9iudjz0   freeimagesKenya wants to gather 3D data on the offshore Lamu blocks to attract exploration companies. (Image source: QR9iudjz0/freeimages)Kenya is planning to hold its first-ever auction of petroleum exploration licences in 2017

The National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) has invited bids from contractors to gather comprehensive data on several shallow blocks off Lamu to help attract exploration firms ahead of the anticipated auction of exploration rights.

“The multi-client surveys and studies are part of the preparation of an open licensing round tentatively scheduled for the year 2017. A formal announcement on the date from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum is expected soon,” said Sumayya Hassan-Athman, CEO of NOCK.

She explained that the planned comprehensive 3D surveys of the Lamu blocks would boost the country’s offshore exploration that still lags behind nearby Tanzania and Mozambique, both of which have found huge deposits of gas.

“During the past exploration work in the Kenya offshore area, seismic surveys have been dominated by 2D data acquisition. 3D data has been acquired in only a few blocks. The intention of NOCK and the ministry is to increase the amount of 3D data coverage so as to better image drillable structures and accelerate exploration through drilling in the earliest phases of exploration,” said Hassan-Athman.

Ready and comprehensive exploration data is considered attractive among investors because it lowers the initial capital required.

Hassan-Athman added that NOCK would take advantage of the current slump in exploration due to low global oil prices to expedite the 3D surveys off the Lamu coast.

“The current low price environment whereby exploration spending by many companies has been significantly reduced and the market for the utilisation survey vessels is in a slump creates an ideal opportunity to spend the next one-half years putting together a series of multi-client surveys and studies that will help de-risk the open acreage,” she said.

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